House of Representatives (Netherlands)

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House of Representatives

Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal
States General of the Netherlands
Logo of the Tweede Kamer.svg
Vera Bergkamp, D66
since 7 April 2021
Dutch House of Representatives, 2022–present.svg
Political groups
Coalition (77)[1]
  •   VVD (34)
  •   D66 (24)
  •   CDA (14)
  •   CU (5)

Opposition (73)

Party-list proportional representation D'Hondt method
Last election
17 March 2021
Next election
In or before March 2025
Meeting place
Plenaire zaal Tweede Kamer - panorama.jpg
Binnenhof, The Hague
(pictured, not in use due to ongoing renovation)
Bezuidenhoutseweg 67, The Hague
House of Representatives

The House of Representatives (Dutch: Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, pronounced [ˈtʋeːdə ˈkaːmər dɛr ˈstaːtə(ŋ) ˌɣeːnəˈraːl] (listen); commonly referred to as the Tweede Kamer, literally "Second Chamber of the States General") is the lower house of the bicameral parliament of the Netherlands, the States General, the other one being the Senate. It has 150 seats, which are filled through elections using party-list proportional representation. Generally, the house is located in the Binnenhof in The Hague, however, it has temporarily moved to the former building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Bezuidenhoutseweg 67 in the Hague while the Binnenhof is being renovated.[2]


Although the body is officially called the "House of Representatives" in English, it is not a direct translation of its official Dutch name, the "Second Chamber of the States General", "Second Chamber" or more colloquially just the "Chamber". Rather than "representative" (afgevaardigde), a member of the House is referred to as (Tweede) Kamerlid, or "member of the (Second) Chamber".


Exterior of the House of Representatives at Binnenhof
Exterior of the temporary House of Representatives at Bezuidenhoutseweg 67

The House of Representatives is the main legislative body of the States General, where discussions of proposed legislation and review of the actions of the cabinet take place. Both the Cabinet and the House of Representatives itself have the right to propose legislation; the House of Representatives discusses it and, if adopted by a majority, sends it on to the Senate. Review of the actions of the cabinet takes the form of formal interrogations, which may result in motions urging the cabinet to take, or refrain from, certain actions. No individual may be a member of both parliament and cabinet, except in a caretaker cabinet that has not yet been succeeded when a new House is sworn in.

The House of Representatives is also responsible for the first round of selection for judges to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. It submits a list of three names for every vacant position to the Government. Furthermore, it elects the Dutch Ombudsman and their subsidiaries.


The normal term of the House of Representatives is four years. Elections are called when the government loses the parliament's confidence, the governing coalition breaks down, the term of the House of Representatives expires or when no governing coalition can be formed.


Anyone eligible to vote in the Netherlands also has the right to establish a political party and contest in elections for the House of Representatives. Parties wanting to take part must register 43 days before the elections, supplying a nationwide list of no more than 50 candidates (80 if the party already has more than 15 seats). Parties that do not have any sitting candidates in the House of Representatives must also pay a deposit (11,250 euro for the March 2021 elections, for all districts together) and provide 30 signatures of support from residents of each of the 20 electoral districts in which they want to collect votes.

Party lists[edit]

Candidate lists are given to voters at least 14 days before the election. Each candidate list is numbered, with the candidate in the first position being known as the lijsttrekker ("list puller"). The lijsttrekker is usually appointed by the party to lead its election campaign, and is almost always the party's political leader and candidate for Prime Minister. Parties may choose to compete with different candidate lists in each of the 20 electoral districts, but as seats are allocated on a national rather than district level, most parties have almost identical lists in all districts with candidates running. Only large parties usually have some regional candidates at the bottom of their lists. From 1973 until its abolition in June 2017 it was possible for two or more parties to combine their separate lists to increase the chance of winning a remainder seat. This was known as a 'list combination' or Lijstverbinding / lijstencombinatie.[3]

Registration and voting[edit]

Citizens of the Kingdom of the Netherlands aged 18 and over have the right to vote, with the exception of 1) prisoners serving a term of more than one year, 2) those who have been declared incapable by court because of insanity, 3) residents of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, unless they have spent ten years residing in the Netherlands or work for the Dutch civil service.[4] Eligible citizens residing in the Netherlands are able to vote if they are registered in a municipal population register (Basisregistratie Personen). Eligible citizens living outside of the Netherlands can permanently register to vote at the municipality of The Hague, provided they have a current Dutch passport or identity card.

A single vote can be placed on any one candidate. Many voters select one of the lijsttrekkers (Jan Peter Balkenende, for example, received 2,198,114 of the CDA's 2,608,573 votes in the November 2006 elections), but alternatively may give a preference vote for a candidate lower down the list.

Allocation of seats[edit]

Once the votes have been counted, the seats are allocated to the parties. The number of valid national votes cast is divided by 150, the number of seats available, to give a threshold for each seat (the kiesdeler); 1/150th is approximately 0.67% of the valid votes. Each party's number of votes is divided by this threshold, and rounded down to the nearest whole number, to give an initial number of seats equal to the number of times the threshold was reached.[5] Any party that received fewer votes than the threshold fails to gain representation in the House of Representatives. After the initial seats are allocated, the remainder seats are allocated among the parties that received at least one seat, using the D'Hondt method of largest averages. This system slightly favours the larger parties. Since parties that received fewer votes than required to obtain one whole seat are not eligible for remainder seats, there is a de facto election threshold of 0.67%.[6] This threshold is one of the lowest for national parliaments in the world, and there are usually multiple parties winning seats with 2% or less of the vote. Any party that did not have seats in the House at the time of the election will have its deposit refunded if it receives more than 75% of the threshold (1/200th of the vote).

Once the number of seats allocated to each party is known, they are usually allocated to candidates in the order that they appear on the party's list. (Hence, before the elections, the candidates near the top may be described as in an electable position, depending on the number of seats that the party is likely to obtain.) At this stage, however, the preference votes are also taken into account. Any candidate receiving more than one quarter of the threshold on personal preference votes (the 'preference threshold' or voorkeursdrempel, 0.1675% of the total number of valid votes), is considered elected in their own right, leapfrogging candidates higher on the list. After the November 2006 elections, only one candidate received a seat exclusively through preference votes, while the 26 other candidates who reached the preference threshold were already elected based on their position on the list. If a candidate cannot take up the position in parliament (e.g., if they become a minister, decide not to enter parliament, or later resign) then the next candidate on the list takes their place.

Formation of governing coalition[edit]

After all seats are allocated, a series of negotiations take place in order to form a government that, usually, commands a majority in the chamber. Since 2012, the House of Representatives appoints a "scout" to ask the major party leaders about prospective coalitions. On basis of the scout's interviews, the House of Representatives then appoints an informateur, who checks out possible coalitions, and formateur, who leads negotiations (before 2012, the informateur and formateur were appointed by the monarch). It typically takes a few months before the formateur is ready to accept a royal invitation to form a government and become prime minister. All cabinet members must resign from parliament, as the constitution does not allow a cabinet member to simultaneously hold a seat in the House of Representatives.

Due to the nationwide party-list system and the low election threshold, a typical House of Representatives has ten or more factions represented. Such fragmentation makes it nearly impossible for one party to win the 76 seats needed for a majority in the House of Representatives. Since the current party-list proportional representation system was introduced in 1918, no party has reached the number of seats that are theoretically required to govern alone or win enough for an outright majority. The highest amount of seats won by a single party since then has been 54 out of 150, by the CDA in 1986 and 1989. Between 1891 and 1897, the Liberal Union was the last party to have an absolute majority of seats in the House of Representatives. All Dutch cabinets since then have been coalitions of two or more parties.


Historical compositions[edit]

Representation per party, between 1946 and 2021

Historically, there have been 100 seats in the House of Representatives. In 1956, this number was increased to 150, at which it remains today.

To give an overview of the history of the House of Representatives, the figure on the right shows the seat distribution in the House from the first general elections after World War II (1946) to the most recent election. The left-wing parties are located towards the bottom, while the Christian parties are located in the centre, and the right-wing parties towards the top. Occasionally, single-issue (or narrow-focus) parties have arisen, and these are shown at the extreme top. Vertical lines indicate general elections. Although these are generally held every four years, the resulting coalition governments do not always finish their term without a government crisis, which is often followed by new elections.

Current composition[edit]

The general election of 2021 was held on Wednesday, 17 March 2021.

People's Party for Freedom and Democracy2,279,13021.8734+1
Democrats 661,565,86115.0224+5
Party for Freedom1,124,48210.7917−3
Christian Democratic Appeal990,6019.5015−4
Socialist Party623,3715.989−5
Labour Party597,1925.7390
Forum for Democracy523,0835.028+6
Party for the Animals399,7503.846+1
Christian Union351,2753.3750
Volt Netherlands252,4802.423New
Reformed Political Party215,2492.0730
Farmer–Citizen Movement104,3191.001New
Code Orange40,7310.390New
Pirate Party22,8160.2200
Trots op Nederland13,1980.1300
Henk Krol List9,2640.090New
List 308,2770.080New
Libertarian Party5,5460.0500
Jesus Lives5,0150.0500
The Party Party3,7440.040New
Ubuntu Connected Front1,8800.020New
Free and Social Netherlands9420.010New
Party of Unity8040.010New
We Are the Netherlands5530.010New
Modern Netherlands2450.000New
Party for the Republic2550.000New
The Greens1190.0000
Valid votes10,422,85299.62
Invalid/blank votes39,8250.38
Total votes10,462,677100.00
Registered voters/turnout13,293,18678.71
Source: Kiesraad

Unrepresented vote[edit]

The small fraction of voters, which were not represented by any party in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands despite valid vote, is increasing. The unrepresented vote fraction is shown below:[7]

Parliamentary leaders[edit]

Parliamentary leaders Party Service as
parliamentary leader
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Sophie Hermans Sophie Hermans
(born 1981)
VVD 10 January 2022
(1 year, 80 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 8 days)
Jan Paternotte Jan Paternotte
(born 1984)
D66 10 January 2022
(1 year, 80 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 8 days)
Geert Wilders Geert Wilders
(born 1963)
[Party Leader]
PVV 30 November 2006
(16 years, 121 days)
26 July 2002
(20 years, 278 days)

25 August 1998 –
23 May 2002
(3 years, 271 days)
Pieter Heerma Pieter Heerma
(born 1977)
CDA 10 January 2022
(1 year, 80 days)

21 May 2019 –
31 March 2021

(1 year, 314 days)
20 September 2012
(10 years, 200 days)
Lilian Marijnissen Lilian Marijnissen
(born 1985)
[Party Leader]
SP 13 December 2017
(5 years, 108 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 8 days)
Attje Kuiken Attje Kuiken
(born 1977)
PvdA 22 April 2022
(343 days)

12 December 2016 –
23 March 2017
(101 days)
11 May 2010
(12 years, 324 days)

30 November 2006 –
19 January 2010
(3 years, 50 days)
Jesse Klaver Jesse Klaver
(born 1986)
[Party Leader]
GL 12 May 2015
(7 years, 323 days)
17 June 2010
(12 years, 287 days)
Thierry Baudet
Thierry Baudet
(born 1983)
[Party Leader]
FvD 23 March 2017
(6 years, 8 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 8 days)
Christine Teunissen
(born 1985)
PvdD 13 October 2022
(169 days)
(Temporarily replacing Esther Ouwehand
during her sick leave)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)

11 October 2018 –
31 January 2019
(112 days)
Mirjam Bikker Mirjam Bikker
(born 1982)
[Party Leader]
CU 17 January 2023
(73 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
Laurens Dassen Laurens Dassen
(born 1985)
[Party Leader]
Volt 31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
Joost Eerdmans Joost Eerdmans
(born 1971)
[Party Leader]
JA21 31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)

25 September 2006 –
30 November 2006
(66 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)

23 May 2002 –
30 November 2006
(4 years, 191 days)
Kees van der Staaij Kees van
der Staaij

(born 1968)
[Party Leader]
SGP 9 June 2010
(12 years, 295 days)
19 May 1998
(24 years, 316 days)
Farid Azarkan Farid Azarkan
(born 1971)
[Party Leader]
DENK 22 March 2020
(3 years, 9 days)

23 April 2018 –
2 September 2018
(132 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 8 days)
Caroline van der Plas Caroline van
der Plas

(born 1967)
[Party Leader]
BBB 31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
Sylvana Simons Sylvana Simons
(born 1971)
[Party Leader]
BIJ1 31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
Parliamentary leaders
Service as
parliamentary leader
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
WybrenvanHaga2019.jpg Wybren
van Haga

(born 1967)
Van Haga
(split from FvD)
13 May 2021
(1 year, 322 days)

24 September 2019 –
1 December 2020
(1 year, 68 days)
31 October 2017
(5 years, 151 days)
Pieter Omtzigt
Pieter Omtzigt
(born 1974)
(split from CDA)
15 September 2021
(1 year, 197 days)
15 September 2021
(1 year, 197 days)

26 October 2010 –
26 May 2021
(10 years, 212 days)

3 June 2003 –
17 June 2010
(7 years, 14 days)
Liane den Haan Liane den Haan
(born 1967)
Den Haan
(split from 50+)
6 May 2021
(1 year, 329 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
Nilüfer Gündoğan Nilüfer

(born 1977)
(expelled from
28 March 2022
(1 year, 33 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
Geert Wilders is the Party Leader and Chairman of the PVV
Lilian Marijnissen is the Party Leader of the SP
Lilianne Ploumen is the Party Leader of the PvdA
Jesse Klaver is the Party Leader of GreenLeft
Thierry Baudet is the Party Leader and Chairman of FvD
Esther Ouwehand is the Party Leader of the PvdD
Mirjam Bikker is the Party Leader of the CU
Laurens Dassen is the Party Leader of Volt
Joost Eerdmans is the Party Leader of JA21
Kees van der Staaij is the Party Leader of the SGP
Farid Azarkan is the Party Leader of DENK
Caroline van der Plas is the Party Leader of the BBB
Sylvana Simons is the Party Leader of BIJ1

Members of the Presidium[edit]

Portrait Name Position Party Service in the Presidium Service as a member of
the House of Representatives
Vera Bergkamp Vera Bergkamp
(born 1971)
Speaker D66 31 October 2017
(5 years, 151 days)
20 September 2012
(10 years, 192 days)
Roelien Kamminga Roelien Kamminga
(born 1978)
First Deputy Speaker VVD 7 July 2021
(1 year, 267 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 0 days)
Martin Bosma Martin Bosma
(born 1964)
Second Deputy Speaker PVV 30 June 2010
(13 years, 1 day)
30 November 2006
(16 years, 121 days)
Anne Kuik Anne Kuik [nl]
(born 1987)
Third Deputy Speaker CDA 14 April 2021
(1 year, 351 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 8 days)
Michiel van Nispen Michiel van Nispen
(born 1982)
Fourth Deputy Speaker SP 2 April 2014
(8 years, 363 days)
Tom van der Lee Tom van der Lee [nl]
(born 1964)
Sixth Deputy Speaker GL 23 March 2017
(6 years, 8 days)
Frank Wassenberg Frank Wassenberg
(born 1966)
Eighth Deputy Speaker PvdD 14 April 2021
(1 year, 351 days)
17 November 2015
(7 years, 134 days)
Salima-Belhaj (cropped).jpg Salima Belhaj
(born 1978)
Ninth Deputy Speaker D66 26 January 2016
(7 years, 64 days)

Parliamentary Committees[edit]

Parliamentary Committee Ministry Current Chair
Parliamentary committee for the Interior [nl] Ministry of the Interior
and Kingdom Relations
Kiki Hagen (D66)
Parliamentary committee for Foreign Affairs [nl] Ministry of Foreign Affairs Attje Kuiken (PvdA)
Parliamentary committee for Finance [nl] Ministry of Finance Judith Tielen (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Justice and Security
Ministry of Justice and Security Paul van Menen (D66)
Parliamentary committee for
Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
Ministry of Economic Affairs
and Climate Policy
Agnes Mulder (CDA)
Parliamentary committee for Defence Ministry of Defence Raymond de Roon (PVV)
Parliamentary committee for
Health, Welfare and Sport
Ministry of Health,
Welfare and Sport
Bart Smals (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Social Affairs and Employment
Ministry of Social Affairs
and Employment
Tunahan Kuzu (DENK)
Parliamentary committee for
Education, Culture and Science
Ministry of Education,
Culture and Science
Ingrid Michon (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Infrastructure and Water Management
Ministry of Infrastructure
and Water Management
Tjeerd de Groot (D66)
Parliamentary committee for
Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
Ministry of Agriculture, Nature
and Food Quality
Jaco Geurts (CDA)
Select Parliamentary Committee Ministry Current Chair
Parliamentary committee for
Kingdom Relations
Ministry of the Interior
and Kingdom Relations
Mariëlle Paul (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
European Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Laura Bromet (GL)
Parliamentary committee for
Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jorien Wuite (D66)
Parliamentary committee for
Building Supervision
Ministry of Infrastructure
and Water Management
Ockje Tellegen (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Petitions and the Citizen Initiatives
Parliamentary committee for
Intelligence and Security
Sophie Hermans (VVD)
Presidium of the House of Representatives [nl] Vera Bergkamp (D66)
Special Parliamentary Committee Ministry Current Chair
Parliamentary committee for
Digital Affairs
Roelien Kamminga (VVD)



  1. ^ "Netherlands: Government inaugurated after longest formation to date". DPG Media. 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  2. ^ "Renovatie van het Binnenhof en de tijdelijke verhuizing van de Tweede Kamer". (in Dutch). 27 February 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Gijs Herderscheê (20 June 2017). "Fenomeen politieke lijstverbinding sneuvelt in Eerste Kamer". Volkskrant.
  4. ^ Kiesgerechtigdheid, Government of the Netherlands, 22 April 2016, retrieved 2 December 2018
  5. ^ "Kieswet, Hoofdstuk P". (in Dutch). 22 February 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Kiesdrempel, kiesdeler en voorkeurdrempel". (in Dutch). 22 April 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Bekendmaking uitslag Tweede Kamerverkiezing 2021". Kiesraad (in Dutch). 22 April 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2021.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°4′47″N 4°18′53″E / 52.07972°N 4.31472°E / 52.07972; 4.31472